Bill to Improve Rural Internet Access in MI Passes in House
Good news for those living in the boonies that have sketchy internet.
The Michigan House of Representatives just approved a bill yesterday (Thursday, March 25th) that will encourage internet companies to provide more access to broadband internet to host in rural areas. This will definitely help those trying to work from home without reliable internet or cell service.
The new bill would help selected companies. Those companies that receive funding from state or federal agencies would end up being exempt or deferred from paying personal property taxes on the equipment needed for broadband access. During the pandemic, policymakers learned a great deal about the state's internet access and the problems that the lack thereof caused.
Around 368,000 residents in rural Michigan did not have access to high-speed internet in 2018. In 2020, Michigan ranked 19th in the United States for best internet coverage, prices, and speed.
There is a reason why unserved areas of Michigan remain unserved and it’s very simple. It’s not profitable to build there. It’s not a wise business plan to install equipment where you will not only not break even, but you would lose money...said Representative Michele Hoitenga.
On Thursday, the House passed the bill in a vote of 57-49. Now the state Senate will review the House amendment. From there the bill could head to Governor Gretchen Whitmer for approval.
I really hope they can figure something out for those living in those rural areas. Not have the ability to connect kids to school or residents to their work is definitely cause a huge problem.
READ MORE: See how some companies are changing their businesses to combat COVID-19